Mexico | Travel Tuesday

Tulum

Ah, to be 15 again.

Today I’m introducing a new travel series here on the blog- Travel Tuesday! Once a week I’m going to begin sharing some of my favorite destinations around the world. I’ve traveled around but I definitely haven’t been everywhere I want to go yet! Have you been to a super awesome place that you want to share about? Shoot me and email and we can work out some guest posting details!

Without further ado–

Mexico was my first trip abroad, and the place I’ve returned to most. I first visited on a vacation with my family when I was in my pre-teen years, but really returned and lived for the first time as an exchange student in my sophomore year of high school.

At 15 years old, I packed my life into 2 suitcases and went to live with strangers.

Strangers who, even after all these years, I still consider family.

Mama Luz

Just look at these faces! The sweet woman in the middle is Mama Luz, my grandmother who just celebrated her 88th birthday!

As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I met other students from around the world that all took part in a year-long exchange. Though we were spread out throughout the year, every few months Rotary would throw us an event so we could all get together and enjoy the camaraderie that comes from shared experiences. The ladies in the picture below were all a part of that group and are still close friends of mine. I’ve visited a few in their home countries since we’ve all returned!

Exchange Girls

Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Poland, France, and the USA

In addition to that I was also lucky enough to be able to do quite a bit of traveling throughout the country and ended up seeing some incredible sights. These of course included the pristine, goldenrod, beaches of Acapulco and Cancun, among others.

Cancun

Cancun

I was able to visit the ruins of where my own ancestors once lived and thrived many, many years ago.

Palenque

Ruins at Palenque, where history tells us my family came from. Fun fact, the girl with me, Sarah, just got married this past weekend! (Congrats, Sarah!)

Throughout the year, I lived with 3 different families, each giving me a unique perspective into culture and life in the city of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. My own mother was also able to visit in the Spring, and we were able to travel around a bit because I had already visited several places with my host families!

My first host family had children with whom I speak with on a regular basis and love with my whole heart. My youngest sister just had her Quinceañera this past weekend, which just seems like she’s growing too fast! Isn’t she supposed to stay 7 forever?

Familia

The whole family 🙂 My youngest sister is the second one from the left. How in the world has she grown so much?

My final host family consisted of only my host mother and myself. I still call her quite often and call her “Mama” because we really connected during my time there. It was just us on our own (her biological daughter was on exchange in Brazil while I was there) so we would adventure out every Saturday morning to a new place. Because of her, I was able to see more places around where we lived that I didn’t even realize existed!

Lake in background

On one of the trips Mama Sofie took me on.

With Mama Sofie

My third host mother, Mama Sofie

It was also because of her that I learned to make killer guacamole, among other foods.

My time in Mexico saw my change from little girl into young woman, and really solidified my love of travel. After my exchange year, my whole life would change as I continued to have that travel bug and explored new places. More on that in the coming weeks!

Have you ever been out of the country? What was the first place you traveled that really grabbed your heart and gave you the desire to not only return, but continue traveling and learning about other places?

Travel Tuesday

7 thoughts on “Mexico | Travel Tuesday

  1. Sean@His and Her Hobbies

    Found your blog through the A-Z challenge. Good luck with your Traveling Tuesdays posts. Being an exchange student would have been a wonderful experience. I would have loved to have done something similar but never had the courage to look into it. I love reading travel related blogs and we do a travel review each Monday on our blog. Hope you are having a great week!

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

    Reply
  2. Stepheny Houghtlin

    Stopping by on the 12th day of the #atozchallenge. Having a good time today blog hopping, saying hi and moving on. Hope living in Chicago has been a great teaching opportunity. It is such a great city. I have a granddaughter in advertising that has come to Chicago too. She loves it. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Come and visit.

    Reply
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